"Irrepressible Russian genius"
So Alexander Lieven, commander of the cruiser "Diana" during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, called Stepan Makarov in the pages of his book "Spirit and Discipline in Our navy».
Makarov was unusually talented and, moreover, that not a very frequent phenomenon in Russia was also a tireless, even a restless worker. He left behind a very significant military applied, oceanographic, technical and other scientific legacy.
The battleship "Grand Duke Constantine". Source: shipwiki.ru
Stepan Makarov published his first serious scientific work “The Adkins Tool for Determining Deviation at Sea” at the age of eighteen. And not just anywhere, but in the Sea Collection, the most authoritative scientific journal of that time.
In 1870, in the same “Sea Collection”, Makarov proposed introducing a special plaster into the system for fighting for the survivability of a ship, with the help of which it is possible to quickly repair a hole in the ship’s hull. In principle, this technology, first proposed by Makarov, is retained to this day.
Later, already in the course of his systematic research activities in St. Petersburg, Makarov paid great attention to the theory of ships' unsinkability, and in fact forms a new scientific discipline in this discourse.
A huge layer of scientific and experimental activities of Stepan Makarov in the fleet - the creation of a torpedo weapons and special ships torpedo bombers (at that time they were called destroyers, and torpedoes - self-propelled mines). In the course of the Russian-Turkish war 1877 — 1878, he managed to realize his ideas on the ship “Grand Duke Constantine”, which was turned into the first in the Russian fleet torpedo bomber.
Stepan Makarov summarized the theory and practice of the use of torpedoes in his brilliant, revolutionary for his time, work “Rules for conducting night attacks of mine-boats”.
Makarov’s three-year round-the-world voyage on the Vityaz corvette during the 1886 — 1889 period was completed with the “Vityaz” and the Pacific Ocean capital work. Then the epic on the creation of the first specialized Russian icebreaker "Yermak" and thorough oceanographic work on it in the Arctic Ocean followed logically.
It is curious that the main work of Makarov on the problem of the use of naval forces in a major conflict - “Discourses on Naval Tactics” - was translated into Japanese in Tokyo before the war itself. The chief naval commander of the Mikado, Admiral of Togo, was most attentively acquainted with the book.
The cover of Stepan Makarov’s book “Yermak in the Ice”, 1901 year
Zhil Makarov, as befits every non-arrested citizen in Russia, is very modest. His letter to his wife, which was sent from Harbin 19 February 1904, is quite remarkable in this sense.
“I telegraphed to Fyodor Karlovich [maritime minister Avelan. “N. L.] about giving you 5400 rubles,” wrote the admiral on his way to his last war. - Please, once again I ask you to save money, I will not be able to transfer anything to you afterwards. In the first two months, I will be deducting all the salary increases, since I left you a power of attorney for 1200 rubles. I won't get a coastline here almost a penny a month. Only then will something remain, but we must save it. ”
"I will not be sent there until misery happens there."
Admiral Stepan Makarov wrote these words about himself and about Port Arthur to his friend, Baron Ferdinand Wrangel, back in the year 1903. If that year Makarov was sent to Port Arthur to command the Pacific Squadron, he would have had some time, but still enough time to look around, get up to speed, not drive his own health. Indeed, in December 1903, Makarov met his 55 anniversary. Alas, the Russian bureaucratic machine didn’t give Makarov a machine for understanding the tasks of the Pacific squadron and the methods for achieving them even in this small time: “restless geniuses” are needed in Russia only during times of revolution and serious wars with an external enemy.
In Russian historiography, Vice Admiral Makarov is traditionally considered to be an outstanding naval commander. However, the admiral’s real service record indicates something else: Makarov never commanded any of the Russian fleets before the 1904 year, he didn’t have the experience of a combat naval commander. Admiral, in view of his reputation as a restless reformer and close to a simple sailor commander, simply never appointed to high command positions.
View of Port Arthur, 1904 year. Photo: RIA News
Makarov was a lot, even a lot, he went on ships, mostly as a captain. Among the army of "cabinet admirals" of Russia, he stood out as a real "sea wolf". But not even the fleet, but the expeditionary formation of the ships — a squadron — Stepan Osipovich commanded only once in his life, and that very short time: from November 1894 to May 1895, that is, only half a year. In fact, this was a single naval transition of a squadron from the Mediterranean to Vladivostok, and only this transition exhausted Makarov's own experience as a naval commander.
It seems obvious that it was precisely the lack of real flotation experience in the changed conditions of the beginning of the twentieth century that became the main cause of the tragic death of Russian admiral Makarov 31 in March (April 13) 1904.
Makarov in Port Arthur: the first initiatives
Makarov arrived at Port Arthur March 7 1904. His charismatic leadership style immediately felt everything. Admiral’s adjutant will write about these days: “Often we didn’t even have time to eat or sleep; and yet it was an excellent life. What is especially characteristic of Makarov is hatred of routine, hatred of the old system of shifting responsibility on others, to attempts to avoid independence in actions. ”
The struggle of Makarov for the manifestation of the personal initiative of officers and sailors was a de facto struggle to change the entire traditional style of relations in the Russian fleet, built mainly on the sad maxim "I am the boss, you are a fool." Makarov could not really change the situation for a single month, which he commanded the Pacific Squadron. However, significant changes in the mobilization capabilities of the squadron were achieved.
The first event of Makarov in Port Arthur was the organization of reliable communications in the fortress - without which modern war is unthinkable in principle: a permanent wire connection connected the headquarters with all the main instruments of the forts.
For the crews of the ships came the hard training days: the fleet began to learn to finally shoot, quickly enter and leave the internal base raid on the external raid.
The entrance to the base of the fleet, in order to counter the Japanese destroyers, was narrowed as much as possible: two old ships, loaded with boulders, were flooded on both sides of the port entrance, in addition, permanent minefields were set up.
The death of the destroyer "Steregushchy", illustration from a poster of a charity concert at the Mariinsky Theater, 1904 year. Source: sovposters.ru
On the day of his arrival at Port Arthur, Admiral Makarov raised his pennant on the Askold armored cruiser. In the light of subsequent events, it appears that this first decision was correct: the Askold was the newest ship (commissioned in 1902), fast, maneuverable, very well armed. His draft was almost three meters less than that of the battleship Petropavlovsk, which Makarov later died on, in terms of the defense of mines, it was a safer ship. Unfortunately, guided, perhaps, by an established tradition, Admiral Makarov soon transferred his pennant to the armored giant Petropavlovsk.
Throw on the cruiser "Novik"
Admiral Makarov’s leadership style is best characterized by numbers. In just one month of his command, the Pacific Squadron six times went into the Yellow Sea to conduct combat operations against the Japanese fleet. And for the rest of the Russo-Japanese War, that is, for two years - only three times: once before Makarov's arrival in Port Arthur and twice with his worthless successor, Rear Admiral Wilhelm Vitgeft.
The first clash of Russian ships with the Japanese took place on 9 March 1904 of the year: four Russian destroyers took the battle with four Mikado destroyers. This battle ended in a draw. However, the next naval battle ended not in favor of the Russians.
Evgeny Capital. "Vice-Admiral S. O. Makarov and artist-battleist V. V. Vereshchagin in the cabin of the battleship" Petropavlovsk ", 1904 year"
Early in the morning of 10 in March 1904, the “Resolute” and “Steregushchy” destroyers, returning to the base after a night raid, encountered the Japanese destroyers “Akebono”, “Sadzanami”, “Sinoneme” and “Usugumo”.
The Russian ships tried to break through to Port Arthur, but only the Resolute managed it. The destroyer "Steregushchy" was hit by a Japanese projectile, lost speed and was forced to take his last battle. The commander of the Guardian, Lieutenant A. S. Sergeev, who took command of Lieutenant N. S. Goloviznin, Warrant Officer K. V. Kudrevich, died heroically in their posts.
After suppressing the destroyer's firepower, the Japanese brought a towline to the ship, but at that time the smoke of the Russian cruisers appeared on the horizon: “Bayan” and “Novik” went to the rescue of the “Steregushchy”. The Japanese dropped the cable and, not accepting the fight, left. At about nine o'clock in the morning the wounded "Watchman" sank. With the withdrawal, the Japanese lifted four Russian sailors from the water. All of them survived in Japanese captivity, and when they returned to Russia, they were awarded St. George's crosses.
Internal raid of Port Arthur, 1904 year. Source: wwportal.com
Makarov himself participated in the rescue raid of the “Watchman” on the small armored cruiser “Novik”. We can pay tribute to the heroism of the admiral, but hardly a hasty personal outing at sea on just two ships met the strategic interests of the Russian naval defense in Port Arthur. In addition to the Japanese four destroyers, two Japanese cruisers “Tokiwa” and “Chitose” were already in this area of the sea, and, most importantly, the main forces of the squadron of Togo were on the way. Makarov clearly took an unjustified risk, putting at risk not only his life, but the strategy of victory over the Japanese fleet.
Unfortunately, the unjustified risk has become the Makarov "trademark" in Port Arthur.
Admiral Makarov, probably not from the good organization of the work of his staff, was often forced to combine the work of a designer, treasurer, junior lieutenant, adjutant and radio engineering. Remaining with all that, he is also the chief strategist of the Pacific Squadron.
The substitution of the regular work of the staff officers with their own impulsiveness and energy, so characteristic of Makarov, found, of course, a warm response in the hearts of the sailors, and earned genuine respect for the commander. However, the physical and moral fatigue of the admiral, which became the inevitable consequence of this annoying substitution, appeared to be the main prerequisite for the March 31 tragedy of 1904.
"Sleeping Fire" excited
Among the Japanese sailors, Admiral Togo Heyhatiro received the informal name "Sleeping Fire". Togo, like no one else, knew how to control himself, but all the officers who knew him closely were confident in the admiral's incredible internal energy, in the latent fire of military passion simmering in his chest.
The sharp increase in activity of the Russian Pacific squadron was very disturbing to Admiral Togo. The combat potential of the Japanese army on the mainland was entirely dependent on naval supplies of manpower, equipment and ammunition from Japan. If the Russian squadron managed to organize a planned raid, and it was quite obviously that its admiral was aimed, Japan would have lost the war without launching it in full force.
According to the well-known military historian A.V. Shishov, already in the second half of March 1904, the headquarters of Togo decided to focus on the mine warfare, setting as its main goal the undermining of the most combat-ready ships of the Russian squadron.
Admiral Togo Heyhatiro. Source: sakhalin-znak.ru
The intelligence work of Japanese intelligence, as already described at the RP, was organized at an exceptionally high level, including in Port Arthur. Experts believe that the intelligence data allowed the Japanese specialists to very accurately determine the location of the mine can. In principle, any Russian ship could have reached this minefield, but the first to enter it was Makarov’s flagship battleship, who always headed the system.
A narrow exit from the internal raid of Port Arthur set Makarov the task of achieving such a regime of cruising under the protection of coastal batteries, which would provide an opportunity to fire from ships while simultaneously concentrating the forces of the squadron. Thus arose the famous "Makarov's Eight", which Russian ships leaving from the internal raid described opposite to a strictly local section of the coast - from the eastern rumba of Krestovaya mountain to the southern rumba of the White Wolf mountain. The G8 was good because in any evolution every Russian ship could shoot with one full board. Its weakness was in a completely template, repeated cruise route from time to time. It was enough to block the main reference points of this route with mine banks, and the undermining of the most deep-seated Russian ships became inevitable.
There was, however, an effective "antidote" against the mines - the quality, methodical work of minesweepers, since the limited, practically permanent route of the G8 sharply narrowed the scope of work.
Presentiment of death
On the eve of his death, Admiral Makarov sent a single letter from Port Arthur to his son Vadim. This almost mystical message is worth not only thinking about how special the admiral's relationship with his son was, but also about the mystery of God's will.
“My dear son! This is my first letter sent to you, and not in passages in letters to my mother, as happened before. You are already a teenager, almost a young man. But I appeal to you from the other end of Russia as an adult man. I send the letter to my old friend in Kronstadt. He will find a way to pass it on to you. There is a brutal war, very dangerous for the Motherland, although outside its borders. The Russian fleet, you know, did not work such miracles, but I feel that you cannot tell anyone so far that we, and I including, as if hinder something, didn’t admiral Togo, no, but from the side nudge, as if sneaking up behind.
Who! I do not know! My soul is in turmoil that I have never experienced. I'm already starting to catch something, but dimly so far. Here Vereshchagin Vasily Vasilyevich is trying to explain something, but confusedly, like all artists and poets ... Here is my mood, son. But you know about it while you are alone. Keep quiet, as it should be a man, but remember. ”
“Togo was almost lifeless”
On the eve of March 31, 1904, Makarov slept badly. His adjutant testifies that for several days in a row the admiral practically did not take off his uniform - apparently, she was tormented by insomnia.
Another eyewitness wrote about this night: “... In the rays of the Krestovaya Mount searchlight, silhouettes of several ships appeared, our searchlights were not enough for them about two miles. Particularly prevented to make out what was happening, a grid of fine rain, illuminated by searchlights. It seemed that the suspicious silhouettes were not standing still, or they were wandering back and forth in the same place. ”
Today it is already known that the mysterious “silhouettes” were the Japanese mine cruiser “Korio-maru”, which carried out a large-scale mine setting at all fixed points of the “Makarov Eight”. A total of 48 min deep bombs was set.
The death of the battleship "Petropavlovsk". Source: roshero.ru
At night, Makarov was reported on the discovery of unknown ships in the outer roadstead. Why a report on such an ordinary, in fact, event had to be lifted from the bed of the commander, and not his duty deputy, remains incomprehensible.
Makarov did not give permission to open coastal battery fire along “silhouettes”: there was a detachment of detachments in the sea, sent for reconnaissance by Japanese forces off the Elliott Islands. The admiral feared shelling her sailors. Why the commanders of the destroyers were not promptly communicated the code of the projector signal “I am my own”, which they had to give without fail when approaching the outer raid, also remains unclear.
On the morning of March 3 (April 13), 1904 of the year, Admiral of Togo began to carry out a plan to lure the Russian fleet from the internal base raid.
Six cruisers under the command of Admiral Deva approached Port Arthur. They imitated a detachment that went far from the main forces. Togo at the head of the squadron battleships was at this moment only 45 miles south. Another group of ships, Admiral Kamimura, was waiting for the Russians on the Korean coast, in case they thought of breaking into Vladivostok.
When Makarov was informed about the approach of the Japanese cruisers, he allegedly instructed to immediately clean up the exit from the internal raid and the waters of the G-8 with mine trawls. Why this absolutely obligatory event was not held is again unclear. Perhaps, the lack of professionalism of the Russian staff officers again affected, but it is not less possible that the order was canceled by Makarov himself.
In an incredible rush, Russian ships began to go on the outer raid. The battleship Petropavlovsk led an armada of four battleships, four cruisers and nine destroyers.
Makarov in his famous old - "happy" - jacket with a fur collar was on the bridge. Not far from him stood the Russian painter Vasily Vereshchagin, the representative of the Romanovs' house in Port Arthur, the Grand Duke Kirill, the captain of the scaffold "Manjour" Crown.
In 09: 15, Admiral Makarov saw armadillos Togo in the telescopes. The Japanese commander, in turn, well distinguished the huge Russian flagship. The staff officer Kure Kosigawa, who was standing next to Togo, later noted in his memoirs that the chief admiral Mikado "was so unnaturally immovable that he seemed lifeless." He was painfully, like “sleeping fire,” waiting for something.
In 09: 43, Togo saw a huge explosion on the horizon, throwing a volcanic column of greenish-brown smoke to a height twice the height of the masts. Many Japanese officers took off their caps. Togo gave the command to lower the flags on all ships, and all the officers to put on signs of mourning. "Sleeping Fire" paid homage to his dead enemy as a true samurai.
“Suddenly the stern of the battleship rose straight into the sky,” with a shudder witnessed the witness of the death of Petropavlovsk, Lieutenant Semyonov. “It happened so fast that it did not look like a sinking ship, but as if the ship unexpectedly fell into two parts ...”
The squadron battleship "Petropavlovsk" drowned in just two minutes. The reason for this is in an extremely dangerous place where a mine was detonated: just opposite the artillery cellar of the main caliber - the entire ammunition was detonated, and the boilers exploded behind it.
Together with Makarov, the artist Vereshchagin died, as well as 635 officers and sailors. Grand Duke Cyril was picked up from the water, along with him saved another 80 crew man.
“Something more happened than just the death of Makarov,” writes contemporary researcher Anatoly Utkin. “Fate began to turn away from the country that had made such a long journey to the Pacific Ocean.” The mist of doom from this time begins to envelop Russia in the Far East. The old euphoria of the young giant will never return. ”
Japanese poet Ishikawa Takuboku, shocked by the mystique of the unexpected death of the Russian flagship, wrote heartfelt lines in 1904.
Friends and foes, throw away the swords,
Do not strike violently!
Stand with bowed head
At the sound of his name: Makarov.